Kristi Thielen's Reviews > The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less

The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz
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Aug 19, 2011

it was ok
Read in August, 2011

Barry Schwartz is chiefly concerned with explaining that an abundance of opportunities - especially for material goods - can actually decrease happiness and that "maximizers," - people in relentless pursuit of the best of all things and agonized by the fear that their decision might be the wrong one - would be better off as "satisficers," - people who discipline themselves to consider only a limited range of options and then make a firm decision and get on with life.

Learn to accept "good enough," because with many things in life, this really is going to be "best" for you. Learn to grow where you are planted; learn to let go of regret, accept that the great excitement about something today will fade with time, because we adapt to novelty. Stop paying attention to what others around you are doing (or how WELL they are doing) and remember that "he who dies with the most toys, wins," is a bumper sticker, not an exercise in wisdom.

All this is fine and good but the book suffers from two problems, only the first of which can be blamed on the author:

1. This is a good magazine-length article, which seems to have been padded to create a book.

2. I found this in the "science" section of Borders Bookstore and therefore expected a more scholarly tone. It should more appropriately be shelved in "Self-Help," as the author assumes the reader is a "maximizer" in need of converting.

If you have an overly materialistic and obsessive friend, do a good deed and give this book to them. If you really aren't a maximizer . . . don't worry about reading this. Get on with life.
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message 1: by Rachael (new)

Rachael This appears to be another book in the series of Malcolm Gladwell wannabes that have cropped up. Gladwell's more pop science so if you're looking for a more critical analysis of brain function, look elsewhere, but his book "Blink" is probably a more interesting (and less self-helpish) version of this.


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